We’ve indulged, and now we want goodness that still tastes good. This ranch dressing recipe has no saturated animal fat, but tons of garden-fresh flavor and tang.
There are many days when all I crave is a beautiful green salad, especially if we’ve been out of town and eating less healthful than we should. Last week was our family vacation at the Maine coast; while we tried to be good, there had to be a lobster, oysters, “chowdah,” as well as a boat of luscious whole-belly fried clams! We indulge in our favorites, but it is always good to be home to our usual foods.
I love all the summer lettuces, especially the crisp and tasty butterhead, and I always think it works perfectly with a ranch dressing. A love match. But even making my own from scratch, ranch dressing can be filled with calories, fat, and saturated fat as well.
I’ve made my own ranch with silken tofu in the past, but experimented this time with yoghurt and mayonnaise. To lighten it up, it was fairly easy to swap out ingredients for this dressing, while still keeping the tang and creaminess. The abundance of herbs made this an easy process.
Hellman’s Vegan Mayonnaise started the party off. It is billed as dressing and spread, and in some parts of the country is marketed as Best Foods. You can also use any favorite vegan mayonnaise. My favorite non-fat plain Greek yoghurt, Green Mountain Creamery, added the needed tang of a ranch dressing. A little vinegar, a little olive oil (it needed the extra fat), and tons of herbs filled out the rest of the ingredient list.
Always, make it your way
You know what you like in your summer salad, and it will change with the day and what is available. Right now, I have a hundred cherry tomatoes again, and the avocados are really buttery and delicious. As for the herbs in the dressing, parsley and dill are the most common to use, but I prefer parsley and tarragon as the main herbs. It’s just what I like. Garlic is always present, and usually some kind of onion. I like chives in this, but scallions would work well too. As always, use what you love best, or perhaps just what you happen to have on hand.
For a vegan version, swap out the yoghurt for a plain plant-based yoghurt and you’re there.
The dressing will bring any salad all together, with tons of flavor and without any guilt!
Low-Fat Herbed Ranch Dressing
- ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
- ½ cup non-fat plain yoghurt, or plain plant yoghurt
- ¼ cup unsweetened plant milk of choice
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/3 cup minced flat leafed parsley
- 1 tbsp. chives, chopped
- 1 tbsp. finely minced tarragon, or dill
- 1 tsp. minced thyme
- Salt and pepper
Place mayonnaise, yoghurt, milk, vinegar, olive oil, and garlic in a blender and process until smooth. Add more milk if the mixture is thicker than what you want.
Add the herbs, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, process again, then taste and correct seasoning. You will probably need more salt and a lot more pepper.
Serve on the side so everyone can use what they like. If you have some beautiful edible flowers from the garden to garnish, even better!
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